Tag Archives: Guided Reading

Common Core Lesson: Asking Questions

Earlier this week I modeled a reader’s workshop lesson in a Kindergarten classroom tied to the Common Core State Standard RL.K.1:


This is a lesson that my coaching colleague, Katie, kindly shared with me as an idea for how to teach this standard in a reader’s workshop. Although the lesson was planned for Kindergarteners, it could easily be adapted for other grade levels by increasing the complexity of the text.

Rather than teaching, asking and answering questions in the same lesson, I planned to first teach students how readers ask questions about books.  The text I selected for this lesson was Grandfather Twilight.



The hook or introduction during a reader’s workshop serves several instructional purposes.  It supports engagement, motivation, and a “need to know” for learning.  This is also the time when you can connect to prior learning and introduce the learning target for the lesson.

In the hook for this lesson, I shared with students how excited I was to share one of my favorite books with them.  I then introduced the learning target and the words we would use to help us ask questions.


During the mini-lesson I modeled the thinking I wanted students to do as readers.  For this lesson, I read the first few pages aloud and paused twice to model asking questions.



After modeling, I asked students what they saw me do as readers.  I wanted them to notice how I read the words carefully, looked closely at the pictures, and used our posted question words to help me ask questions.

Guided Practice

Guided practice is the component of reader’s workshop in which you create a safe place for students to practice the task before sending them off to work independently.  It is also an opportunity to assess student readiness for independent application and address misconceptions.

To begin guided practice, I shared with students that it was now their turn to practice asking questions.  I read the next few pages on the visualizer and asked students to follow along with their eyes.  Allowing students to better see the text helps support fluency.


Independent Practice

To support students with independently applying the target, I made them bookmarks.

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Click Here to Download

As students were reading, the classroom teacher and I conferred with students to see how they were applying the target to their own reading-level appropriate books.  I was able to make some observations during this time that I followed up on during the debrief.


After students have had time to work on applying the learning target independently, it’s important to honor their efforts with a brief share.  For this lesson, you might ask students to share one question they had about a book they read with a neighbor.  After students have had a chance to share, make a connection between the specific learning target for the lesson and the larger context.  You might ask students, “Why do you think it’s important we practice asking questions as readers?”

Continue to work on this standard using a variety of literature and make appropriate adjustments based on the needs of your kids.

A special thanks to Katie Shenk for providing the foundation for this lesson.

Thanks for reading!


Running Records: Why We Should Be Doing Them

I’ve just started a new coaching cycle with a Kindergarten teacher who is interested in building his understandings of guided reading.  We’ve planned to work with a group of A/B level readers and will be using running records throughout the next six weeks to ensure that our work is supporting students progress as readers.

During my first few years in the classroom I rarely, if ever, gave running records outside of the required district reading assessments.  With everything else I was trying to keep up with, these just seemed like one more thing “to do.”  However, now after having done countless running records, I can confidently say that they provide reliable, relevant data.

Running records are an assessment given to guide teaching, assess text difficulty, and capture progress.  The procedure is simple and straightforward.  When analyzing what is recorded, you’re really challenged to think with greater clarity about the progress of your beginning or struggling readers.  As a result, you adjust your instruction as needed and then guess what…your readers get moving!  Running records make sense and are well worth your time.

To support my coachee with giving and analyzing these assessments, I created a running record form and progress tracker to use alongside of it.  The running record form is user friendly with a space on the bottom for recording notes on student’s comprehension of a text.  You can either type your notes directly into the document or record as you go on a blank form.  The progress tracker form will help you visually capture a student’s progress over a period of time.  The one featured below reflects the K-5 Fountas and Pinnell Levels.  You can easily delete any unnecessary rows for the particular grade level you are working with.  I have also included an example of what a completed progress tracker form might look like.

Download Running Record Form Here

Download Progress Tracker Here

If you’d like to know about running records in more detail, Marie Clay’s book “Running Records for Classroom Teachers” is a great resource.

I’m also happy to answer any questions.  Just send them my way!

The Story of Guided Reading

Guided reading is an approach to literacy instruction that teachers at our school have been working hard to understand and implement in their classrooms.  We did a ton of work and thinking with this strategy last year in PD and continue to build on and refine our understandings this year.

Below is an infographic I created to summarize the WHAT, WHY, and HOW of guided reading in a visually friendly way.  As an educator I’m all about using visuals to help make sense of tricky topics or ideas.  Infographics allow you to “tell a story” with graphics and information.  This happens to be my first one and I have to say it was super fun to make!  I hope it helps you make sense of guided reading.

Below the infographic I have included a video of a guided reading lesson, accompanying lesson plan, and guided reading planning template.

Thanks for reading and Happy Thanksgiving!


Guided Reading Infographic

This is a video we used as a model of quality guided reading instruction during a recent PD.  Thanks Becky for letting us learn from you!

Here is a link to Becky’s lesson plan if you would like to give it a go (Becky’s Lesson Plan)!  This lesson is suited for J level readers.

Click Here to Download Planning Template